Austin Kocher is a research assistant professor with the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research institute that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to study the federal government. Key areas of Kocher’s current research at TRAC include federal immigration detention, enforcement and deportation; the immigration court system; and trends within the federal criminal and civil courts.
Kocher’s research interests focus on the political and legal geographies of immigration enforcement, policing and the immigration court system. His ongoing work interrogates the legal rationalities and everyday practices of producing “illegalized” immigrants through the U.S. immigration court system, and he examines how the immigration courts link up with local immigration enforcement on the ground. His research also includes grassroots immigrant rights and worker rights movements that seek to push back against deportation as a tool of social and labor control.